Choosing Your Infant Life Jacket: Safety First

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Life Jacket Safety

Users of infant life jackets have one constant complaint: that their babies cannot swim in the life jackets because they keep tipping them back on their backs. This safety feature is an important one to all infant life jackets. When choosing your infant life jacket, safety comes first. 

Why Do Infant Life Jackets Force The Baby Face-Up?

The biggest danger to your baby in an outing near water is drowning. If the very worst should happen and the baby falls into the water, you want his head lifted out of it and facing the sky. A good, safe Type II infant life jacket should be designed in such a way that it flips the baby onto his back automatically. He should be able to fall head first, feet first, face down, face up, and end up on his back whether he likes it or not.

infant-life jacket

Which Infant Life Jackets Are Best?

The Stearns Infant Classic Boating Vest

The Stearns infant life jacket is backed with thin padded nylon, for the greater comfort of the baby when he or she is sitting up and lying down. However, the front pads are made of extremely thick single pieces of foam. They are thick enough to push the baby’s front up and out of the water, which automatically puts the heavier side (the back) into the water. The squarish design keeps the floats on top.

The Stohlquist Unisex Infant/Toddler Nemo Infant Life Jacket

The Stohlquist infant life jacket is one of the most comfortable infant life jackets. It has much thinner foam pieces in front than most, and it wraps around the baby. Thin padding on the back also keeps the baby comfortable. The wrap-around design makes it much easier for the jacket to roll the baby onto his back. However, very active children may still cause the jacket to roll violently enough that the water touches their faces.

The O’Neill Wake Waterski Infant USCG Vest

The O’Neill Waterski infant life jacket is one of the bulkiest infant life jackets to be made. The thin nylon backing is purposely made without padding, to give it less buoyancy. On the other hand, the front of the infant life jacket is designed chunky, with thick pieces of squared foam fitting into one another. The bulkiness of the front, and the total lack of buoyant material at the back, effectively turns the baby on his back at once.

The Full Throttle Infant Baby-Safe Vest

The Full Throttle infant life jacket is uniquely designed as one gigantic chest float. This single chest float, rounded on top, easily flips the baby to his back. To add to the safety and to ensure the baby flips onto his back, the infant life jacket was designed with only straps connecting at the back. There is not even thin nylon backing. The only way for the float to go is up, keeping the baby on his or her back.

If Your Infant Life Jacket Does Not Flip Your Baby Onto His Back, Don’t Use It

That is the bottom line. Your baby’s safety depends on how quickly and how well the vest can flip him on his back. This is a non-negotiable safety feature.

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